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Over the Weekend 4/26/21: Oscar Wrap-Up, Will Packer on Georgia, and More News

April 26, 2021 09:30 | By

We did it! We got through another Oscars, and this seemed to be a longer Oscar season than usual, maybe because it actually was. (Hopefully, things will get back to normal this year.)

You can read a full list of winners here, and I’m sure you can find clips of the acceptance speeches by the Oscar winners online if you look around. Below the Line attended the press room last night, so we’re sharing a few quotes from some of the below-the-line winners, many who had previously spoken to us.

Messerschmidt

Erik Messerschmidt (Photo by Miles Crist)

Erik Messerschmidt, ASC,Achievement in Cinematography for Mank

“Citizen Kane is one of the movies that made me want to make movies.  And Gregg Toland is a cinematographer, who is someone who taught the movie business how to take risks to some degree and made it acceptable to take creative risks and push the medium forward.  He has been incredibly inspiring to me as a cinematographer and to have the opportunity to make a movie that just references just a little bit of what he did is ‑‑ has been a really special thing for me.  And it was wonderful to look at that film and then ‑‑ but through a bit of a modern lens and bring something of our own to it.”

Donald  Burt, ADG, Achievement in Production Design for Mank

“It didn’t intimidate me only because once you came to terms with it in the beginning, once you knew when you were working on and what period it was and once you were trying to make a film that could play alongside Citizen Kane, something that you would pull it off the shelf and play it after you watched Citizen Kane, possibly, it became a singular film.  And once you kind of kept that in your framework and in your mind, that this was its own film, it was much easier to execute.”

Jan Pascal, SDSA, Achievement in Production Design for Mank

“To try to create Old Hollywood and San Simeon and try to make it look realistic and not too over the top was a bit of a challenge.  But it was a lot about balance ‑‑ just balancing.  And, as Don always says, subtraction.  So we had to do a lot of subtraction from the 21st Century to get to the 1930s.”

Mia Neal, Achievement in Make-Up and Hair Styling for Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

“I think that everybody benefits from diversity, and also, I think everybody wants it to be honest.  I feel like that has been the thing, and I think that time has kind of sped up in a way in terms of technology and just people being more connected, also people not being afraid to speak up.”

Trent Reznor, Achievement in Music (Original Score) for Soul

“Every project, we try to immerse ourselves in it and we try to do the best work we can and we hope we learn something in the process.  And the real reward is doing it and knowing you did the best you could. For me personally, we are going to wake up tomorrow the same people we were today, but it’s the process, it’s the exploring, it’s the learning about this beautiful gift of music and how to apply it and how you can express it, you know.”

Jon Batiste, Achievement in Music (Original Score) for Soul

“I think I re‑affirm the fact that your collaborators, the people around you, the people who you have the pleasure of trading information as we all accumulate information on the journey of life and music is life.  So I look at them as one and the same. And working with Pixar, obviously working with Trent and Atticus, the whole scope of it over two years was beyond.” 

Scott Fisher, Achievement in Visual Effects for Tenet

“Thinking backwards was definitely the biggest challenge, and I think everybody would probably agree with me that’s in this room right now, just trying to get our heads around what should be forward, what should be backwards, what’s backwards in forwards world, what’s forwards in backwards world, and how those things come together.  So it was a mental challenge from start to finish.” 

And for those annoyed by the fact that the entire show ended with Sir Anthony Hopkins not being present to accept his Oscar for Actor in a Leading Role — he was in Wales, probably sleeping — the two-time Oscar winner took to Instagram with a video acceptance speech this morning. “Good morning. Here I am in my homeland in Wales and at 83 years of age, I did not expect to get this award. I really didn’t. I’m very grateful to The Academy and thank you. I want to pay tribute to Chadwick Boseman, who was taken from us far too early. Again, thank you all very much. I really did not expect this. I feel very privileged. Thank you.”


Chateau Marmont

Chateau Marmont (Photo: Tony Hisgett)

This wasn’t the best weekend for Aaron Sorkin, as his The Trial of the Chicago 7 was one of the only Best Picture nominees to not win a single Oscar. Just days earlier, his next movie, Being the Ricardos, starring Nicole Kidman and Javier Bardem, had to cancel a shoot, and for what may be the first time in the past year, it wasn’t due to COVID.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the popular L.A. locale, the Chateau Marmont, has been facing allegations that it left its workers without affordable health care during the pandemic and created an environment of racial discrimination and sexual harassment.  Because of this, a night shoot for Sorkin’s film was canceled on Thursday, April 22, mere hours before production as it ran afoul of a union picket line and a celebrity-fueled boycott.

Producer Todd Black released the following statement: “Writer/director Aaron Sorkin, the cast and crew of ‘Being the Ricardos’ stand in solidarity with The Chateau Marmont’s workforce. We are committed to supporting and building a safe and equitable environment where everyone has a right to work with dignity and free from fear. We are thankful to the organizers of the hospitality workers union of UNITE HERE Local 11 for sharing this information about the mistreatment of the workers. The production took immediate action to shut down the 1-day shoot as soon as this was brought to our attention.”

The Chateau Marmont spokesperson told THR: “Throughout its history, the Chateau Marmont has always been a safe haven for creative people to express themselves in accordance with the First Amendment. Today, Unite Here Local 11 broke that century-long compact by disrupting a union production who had the legal right to film on the hotel property.”

On the other hand, the CBS Studios series, Star Trek: Discovery, which had been filming in Toronto, had to hit pause on Friday, and that was due to COVID, according to Deadline. Cases had been surging in the Canadian city and someone in Zone A came into contact with someone who had tested positive, which was too close to comfort, so the production shut down until May 6 while that person goes into quarantine for two weeks. This is a good reminder that we’re still in a pandemic, and it needs to be taken seriously until the health authorities let us know that we no longer need to follow COVID protocols.


Speaking of boycotts, another Atlanta-based filmmaker has weighed in on the situation in Georgia and the proposed production boycott due to the state’s restrictive SB202 voting law. Hugely successful Atlanta-based producer Will Packer (Ride AlongGirls TripThink Like a Man) appeared on The Real to say that he would continue making films in Atlanta despite the law.

“It’s a complex issue because most of the people who are working in the film industry, they did not vote for these legislators who put these archaic laws in place,” he said, “And so while I respect some filmmakers who say, ‘I can’t film in Georgia. I can’t go down there and film because it would show support for this legislator, support for this government,’ I understand that. But make no mistake: the people that we hire, the people who work in the industry, they didn’t vote for these folks and these aren’t their laws. I don’t want to punish any of them.”

He added, “I’m not moving my productions out of Georgia because the people in Georgia who drive trucks, who place lights, who do catering, who do everything on our film productions, they need these jobs. So I’m going to stay shooting in Georgia.” Packer says that by pulling business, it would just empower Governor Kemp.

Last week, Black Panther director Ryan Coogler spoke out about the situation in Atlanta, basically mirroring what Packer said, as well as backing what Tyler Perry said earlier in the month.


Falcon Winter Soldier

Sebastian Stan and Anthony Mackie in The Falcon and the WInter Soldier (Disney/Marvel

Just before the weekend, The Hollywood Reporter‘s Heat Vision reported that The Falcon and the Winter Soldier showrunner Malcolm Spellman is writing a screenplay for a fourth Captain America movie with one of the show’s staff writers, Dalan Musson. Considering where the sixth and final episode of the Disney+ series left off, a follow-up feature could be exciting news for fans of the second Marvel Studios series for Disney’s streamer.


Vin Diesel

Vin Diesel in Fate of the Furious (Universal)

Vin Diesel will reteam with Director F. Gary Gray for a third time to make the action-comedy Muscle for STXfilms, reports The Hollywood Reporter. Gray previously directed Diesel in his 2003 action-thriller, A Man Apart, and then they reunited for 2017’s The Fat of the Furious.  Reginald Hudlin and Byron Phillips are producing the film, which will begin shooting later this year, with Diesel and Samantha Vincent also producing for One Race Films, and Gray executive producing. Although the logline for Muscle is being kept hush-hush, the latest draft is written by John Swetnam and Malcolm Spellman from the original script by Scott Taylor & Wesley Jermaine Johnson.

The Last of Us series for HBO, based on the popular Playstation game,  has tapped a number of international filmmakers, including Jasmila Žbanić, whose latest feature, Quo vadis, Aida, was nominated for an Oscar in the International Film category and won the award in that category at last week’s Film Independent Spirit Awards. The other director, Ali Abbasi, won a prize at the Cannes Film Festival for his film, Border.

Also on Friday, it was reported that pop diva Gloria Estefan would be joining the cast of the Cuban-American Father of the Pride remake for Warner Bros. Pictures and Plan B. She will join Andy Garcia‘s title character, playing the mother of Adria Arjona,  in the movie directed by Gaz Alazraki.

The pop singer released the following statement on accepting the role, “A resounding YES was my answer to the invitation to join my good friend, the incredibly talented Andy Garcia, for this new and wonderfully warm and funny incarnation of the classic, Father of the Bride! I’ve been a fan of director Gaz Alazraki since I saw his record-breaking comedy Nosotros Los Nobles and can’t wait to experience how he brings this amazing script by Matt Lopez to life.”

The original 1991 version of Father of the Bride was directed by Nancy Meyers and starred Steve Martin and Diane Keaton.


There are some sure signs that the box office is starting to rebound, and this Oscar weekend ended up being a good one for some genre counter-programming as two wide releases opened Friday, making over $44 million between them.

Warner Bros. and New Line Cinema‘s Mortal Kombat reboot won the weekend with an estimated $23.3 million in 3,073 theaters to become the 2nd biggest opener since the pandemic began. So far, Warner Bros. seems to be owning the pandemic box office after bravely releasing Christopher Nolan‘s Tenet as the first major release after the 2020 COVID shutdown. So far, Warner Bros. has had decent hits with Godzilla vs. Kong and Tom & Jerry, both of which opened higher than expected.

Still, it could be said that FUNimation Entertainment had the real hit of the weekend, as its Demon Slayer The Movie: Mugen Train was able to gross $21.1 million in just 1,600 theaters,  including the Thursday night previews it had that included IMAX screens. It averaged $12,200 per theater compared to Mortal Kombat‘s $7,326 per site.

Bleecker Street released the Sundance comedy, Together Together, starring Ed Helms and Patti Harrison, into 665 theaters where it grossed just over half a million dollars.

This past weekend was the highest-grossing weekend of the year, besting the extended April 2 Easter weekend in which Godzilla vs. Kong opened.


During the Oscars last night, 20th Century Studios —who like ABC is owned by the Walt Disney Pictures — aired the first teaser trailer for Steven Spielberg‘s West Side Story, which you can watch below. It will hit theaters on December 10, and it’s looking like it could be another real Oscars player similar to the 1961 film.

Another teaser trailer that premiered during the Oscars was the directorial debut by the show’s DJ, Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, whose documentary, Summer of Soul, was one of the big buzz movies out of the Sundance Film Festival. The movie will be released in theaters by Searchlight Studios as well as stream on Hulu, beginning July 2.

Also, over the weekend, F9 star Vin Diesel took to the streets — or at least to YouTube — to welcome people back to theaters in time for the release of his new action movie on June 25. Universal Pictures will also be re-releasing the previous eight Fast & Furious movies as part of its “Fast Fridays” series, which will begin with FREE screenings of the original 2001 The Fast and the Furious in theaters across the nation.